The Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China have announced that top esports players will be eligible to compete at the 2022 Asian Games for the first time.
Esports will debut earlier at next year’s Asian Games in Indonesia but only as a “demonstration sport” with no medals on offer. The full appearance of competitive esports will arrive in 2022 in China at the Hangzhou Sports Park Stadium (pictured).
In a statement released this week, the Olympic Council of Asia explained that the decision represents “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.”
Alisports is the sports arm of the commerce giant Alibaba, one of the largest companies in the world. Last year, Alibaba invested $150 million into the International eSports Federation and also funds the World Electronic Sports Games, which have a prize pool of over $5 million USD.
It’s not clear at this time which titles will be represented at the Asian Games. The Olympic Council of Asia also organises the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which will be hosted this September. The Electronic Sports Category at these games will feature FIFA 2017, along with “MOBA games” and “Real Time Attack games.” It’s likely that the official Asian Games will follow suit.
“The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports,” explained Olympic Council of Asia President HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.
“We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events. We are sure that the extensive organising capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports.”